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Bill Dauterive
First appearance Pilot
Last appearance To Sirloin With Love
Cause/reason series conclusion
Portrayed by Stephen Root
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Army barber
Spouse(s) Lenore Dauterive (ex wife)
Relatives Gilbert Dauterive (cousin)
Violetta (cousin)
Girac Dauterive (cousin)
Rene Dautrive (cousin)
Esme Dauterive (aunt)
Alphonse Dauterive (uncle)

William (or Guillaume) "Bill" Fontaine De la Tour D'Haute Rive (French for "William Fountain of the Tower of the Upper Bank,"pronounced /doʊˈtriːv/) is a fictional character on the Fox animated series King of the Hill. He is the Hills' overweight, divorced, and clinically depressed neighbor, voiced by Stephen Root and named for series producer Jim Dauterive.

Contents

Production

Root used his background in Southern theater to help him develop the voice of Bill. Root attended the University Of Florida, and had performed in Southern plays in New York City prior to being chosen for the role. He originally auditioned for the role of Dale Gribble, which "didn't feel right" so he then auditioned for Bill.[1]

Personality

Bill is indicated as coming from an upper-class Cajun family in Louisiana, who lived (until Gilbert, his cousin was forced to sell it) on a vast estate called the Chateau D'Haute Rive ("house on the high river"). Because of this, he speaks fluent Cajun French and plays the accordion skillfully, which surprises him just as much as it does everyone else. His father was at least somewhat abusive, spanking him regularly, locking him in a rabbit hutch, and making him wear dresses (Bill seems to justify these events when he mentions them). His only living male relative is his dandified cousin Gilbert, who still lives in Louisiana; the two are guardians of the family's secret barbecue sauce recipe, which Gilbert refuses to allow Bill to sell. (However, Bill eventually gives the recipe to Bobby Hill so he can pass it on to his children, thus keeping the Dauterive tradition alive.)

Although overweight, balding and emotionally needy in his later years, Bill was a muscular, confident athlete with long flowing hair in his youth. Nicknamed the "Billdozer", he held Arlen High's career touchdown record until a young athlete named Ricky Suggs broke it years later. Ricky however is simply allowed to score the record-breaking touchdown by the other team due to a torn ACL, rather than playing injured as Bill would have; to regain his honor Bill rejoins the team to score one last touchdown and re-tie the record (he had redshirt eligibility due to being drafted to the Army during his senior year). Bill's bright future was derailed when he attended a Molly Hatchet concert and found his future wife Lenore passed out in lap; she would go on to cheat on and humiliate Bill before finally leaving him a broken shell of his former self. It can generally be assumed that her leaving him was the major cause of his downward spiral. At one point, Bill says "I'm so depressed, I can't even blink."

Bill is often a foil for his friends, who verbally and emotionally put him down on a regular basis, either because they don't realize how hurtful their remarks are or because Bill is too dimwitted to mind very much. He is the first person to be mentioned when any character refers to losers or bemoans a misfortune for fear their lives will be ruined, like his. For example, Hank once, while telling Peggy that a lawn makes a man and gives him a purpose, says "Without my lawn, I am Bill," which nauseates Peggy as the thought of being with Bill nauseates her to no end. Bill, like Dale and Boomhauer, has a strong admiration for Hank and often seeks his advice before doing anything, and for his help when in trouble. He occasionally gets dragged into Dale's crazy schemes, and often is the one who accidentally ruins them. Of all his acquaintances, Boomhauer seems to be the one who gives him the most respect, possibly due to the fact that Bill once helped a broken-hearted Boomhauer get over a girl who dumped him. Bill has an obsessive crush on Peggy, and frequently makes bumbling remarks about her that are inappropriate to say in front of Hank. Although his friends are often disgusted or frustrated at his stupidity and the number of times he has wrecked their plans, they were devastated when it appeared that he had sacrificed himself to save them when they were stuck on a military target zone, with Hank saying that he was a good friend - sweet, loyal, and brave. It's been said that the real reason everyone is so shabby to Bill is that's the sort of treatment he's used to. You catch more flies than vinegar--but some flies seem to prefer vinegar. Some even prefer you to pull their own wings clean off. Bill is clearly one of those flies.

When examining Bill's Army medical history, Dale discovered that Bill was unknowingly made part in an experiment called "Operation: Infinite Walrus", to create a hybrid soldier capable of operating in freezing cold waters. It is assumed that the experimental drugs are the cause of his weight gain, excessive body hair, baldness, and terrible body odor and breath... until it's revealed that he was in the experimental group given a placebo. Bill is also shown to have a severe but easily treatable foot fungus, which actually comes in handy once to help Hank get revenge on a fraudulent mold inspector. It was once indicated that Bill has diabetes, but then later contradicted by the inept diagnosing doctor, who says that he only said Bill was likely to get diabetes. Originally the doctor made it seem like Bill already had the condition and he would be confined to a wheelchair. Later on Bill beats him up for this with Hank standing guard. Ironically, this "diagnosis" leads Bill to a depressed slump, where he meets Thunder, a wheelchair-using muscle man who plays a wheelchair-friendly version of Rugby. This then leads Bill to get into better shape while playing the sport. He also has a foot fetish--finding Peggy's unnaturally oversized feet very appealing. One more reason he's sweet on her.

Bill's personal hygiene and other habits are shown to be very poor. As previously mentioned he has severe foot fungus, terrible breath and body odor (when opening the hatch of a tank Bill had stolen, Hank believed there was a dead animal inside due to the smell). Various comments indicate that he doesn't shower or brush his teeth on a regular basis. Bobby states that he has dandruff in spite of being bald. He is regularly shown eating food he finds in or under his couch, and has even been shown to eat food without dishes (as in one episode where he was cooking himself spaghetti, where he broke his only plate and was forced to eat the spaghetti off of his counter and drink the jar of sauce he was going to serve with it). He dumps garbage directly out his kitchen window despite having a garbage can. He has been shown to fall asleep while eating snacks, which attracts animals into his bedroom, though he seems incredulous or apathetic to this. His bathroom is described as disgusting, when asked if they would rather endure a dangerous and painful stunt (ex. stick a wasp up your nose) or shower in Bill's bathroom, his friends always choose the former. When assigned tasks to get his house ready for a family reunion after Nancy and Peggy are assigned the bathroom both are horrified and desperately try to change assignments. He claims to stand 5 foot 8 and 3/4 inches tall.

Romantic relationships

Bill Dauterive's ex-wife was named Lenore, who was seen and voiced in the episode "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator", attempting to worm her way back into Bill's life when he became high profile while dating former Texas governor Ann Richards.[2] During the early seasons, he often pined for Lenore to return after she ran out on him, but he was somewhat successful in getting over her in the episode "Pretty Pretty Dresses" after Hank resorts to pretending to be Lenore. Bill then finally symbolically confronts Lenore for leaving him, and after being told "I don't love you anymore" he becomes enraged and yells "You don't deserve Willam Fontaine De la Tour Dauterive!". During "Hank and the Great Glass Elevator", Lenore tries ordering Bill around in front of Ann Richards but he finally tells her off by mooning her. Other relationships include Luanne's mother Leanne Platter ("Leanne's Saga"), which ended when she reverted to her drunken violent ways and stole his truck, and Kahn's mother Laoma Souphanousinphone ("Maid in Arlen"), which was broken up by interference from Kahn, who convinced Bill that his mother was in love with astronaut Harrison Schmitt. He also had a brief, mostly sexual, relationship with two of his cousins' widows ("A Beer Can Named Desire"). In a later season, he dated Reverend Karen Stroup for a time and even moved her in with him, but eventually broke it off when he felt they were moving too fast. Due to his ability to keep going after virtually any rejection, Bill is the one able to snap Boomhauer out of his depression when rejected by a woman he truly had feelings for.

Work and personality

Bill works as a sergeant barber in the United States Army. He briefly served as a recruiter when his position was eliminated for being wasteful, but it was secretly restored when Hank donated a new chair, with a cover job as an electrician. He also was briefly a professional hair stylist with Luanne at the trendy salon Hottyz until it was discovered he wasn't gay. When he is engaged by other pursuits, such as when he toured with a choir group called the Harmonoholics or when he decided to run his own halfway house, Bill uses up all his personal and sick days from the army almost to the point of going AWOL; otherwise he doesn't use them at all. He is described as being nice but often depressed and lonely; his overwhelming need to make people like him makes him easily taken advantage of, particularly by Dale.[3]

In the episode "Bill of Sales" it is also suggested that Bill has emotionally masochistic tendencies--explaining his lust for Peggy. No one finds Bill more repelent than her--and everyone finds Bill very repelent. After learning this, Peggy's attempt to, in her words, "motivate him (business term) with a little praise (my term), he goes plumb loco (Spanish term). Hank's response ("You must have confused him; being dumped on is all Bill knows") leads Peggy to conclude that "Bill has had a hard life and he likes it that way" and subsequently refers to him as a "nut job". She manages to persuade him to go back to work for her by verbally abusing him. However, she soon fires him out of feelings of guilt for taking advantage of his low self-esteem. It's also during this episode that Bill shows exceptional skills as a salesman, helping Peggy achieve her sales quotas quickly. However it could be seen as Bill didn't want to betray Hank (Afraid that Peggy was coming onto him), and the reason for going back to help Peggy was fear she didn't want to even talk to him anymore.

Despite Bill's complete infactuation with her, she seems to loathe him just as much. She brings him a great deal of heartache, though it's not always intentional. Like during a game of baseball, he once accidently threw a bean-ball at him, knocking him to the ground. She then mistakenly threw another at his crotch, putting him in excrutiating pain and embarassment. Anothet time, angry at his endless pursuit of her, she hit once at a game, knocking him off the bleachers--his arm later in a sling. She stole his prized American flag and accidently destroyed it, driving him to absolute tears. Despite all of this, she says she considers him "a friend."

According to Drawn to Television by M. Keith Booker, Bill "is a lonely figure who adds a touch of pathos to the humor of King of the Hill, which is often bittersweet."[4] Jim Bawden of the Toronto Star describes Bill as a "sad sack". Voicing Bill and a couple other characters on the show is Stephen Root's favorite job.[5]

References

  1. ^ Ryan, Kyle (December 20, 2007). "Random Roles: Stephen Root". AV Club. http://www.avclub.com/articles/random-roles-stephen-root,2110/. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  2. ^ Dallas Morning News Archive
  3. ^ "Bill Dauterive Himself on King Of The Hill". WVAH. http://www.wvah.com/programs/kingofthehill/BillDauterive.shtml. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  4. ^ Booker, M. Keith (2006). Drawn to Television. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 72. ISBN 9780275990190. 
  5. ^ Bawden, Jim (October 20, 2007). "Root having a hoot". Toronto Star. http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/Television/article/268287. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 

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